Have You Eaten Yet?

Bahamas Food Scene vs. COVID - Featuring: Chef Simeon Hall Jr.

November 24, 2020 Kassata Bollman Episode 6
Have You Eaten Yet?
Bahamas Food Scene vs. COVID - Featuring: Chef Simeon Hall Jr.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

New restrictions are being rolled out weekly in cities across the U.S. & around the world when it comes to COVID & restaurants.
This week we check in with Chef Simeon Hall Jr. in the Bahamas:
https://www.simeonhalljr.com/
- He describes what's happening there when it comes to restaurants & COVID. 
- Plus he & his entire family had COVID.  Chef Hall lost his sense of taste during his battle & is now a 'long hauler' -  still experiencing sporadic COVID symptoms long  after the illness has left his body.
- We discuss the journey to recovery post COVID in the Bahamas  & what that might look like.
- Chef Hall is hosting an inspirational event to help keep the creative vibes flowing during COVID: https://www.instagram.com/dinnaclubbahamas/?hl=en
- Why do Non-Bahamian restaurants outnumber Bahamian restaurants on the Islands? Chef Hall explains.
- And imagine cooking for Rita Marley while she's telling you fascinating stories from her life? Chef Hall shares some of his favorite moments doing just that with Dr. Marley. 

[[MUSIC]]


WELCOME! 

I’M KASSATA BOLLMAN. 

TODAY MY GUEST IS CHEF SIMEON HALL JR. 

HE JOINS US FROM THE BAHAMAS. 

CHEF HALL HAS BEEN ADVOCATING THE FARM TO TABLE….. AND SEA TO SPOON MOVEMENTS….. LONG BEFORE THEY BECAME POPULAR SLOGANS.

CHEF HALL DRAWS ON HIS HISTORY OF ISLAND CUISINE WHILE USING CLASSIC FLAVORS, TECHNIQUES & INGREDIENTS…...

..…...SO I’LL START BY ASKING….. CHEF HALL….  “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” AND IF YOU HAVE….WHAT DID YOU EAT TODAY?


[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]


RESTAURANT SCENE IN BAHAMAS DURING COVID:


CURRENTLY, COVID IS CRUSHING US HERE IN THE U.S…..NEW RESTRICTIONS ARE BEING ROLLED OUT WEEKLY IN CITIES ACROSS OUR COUNTRY...I’M TAKING IT DAY BY DAY HERE IN NY….CREATING CONTINGENCY PLANS IF THEY ELIMINATE INDOOR DINING….IT’S BEYOND STRESSFUL FOR ME...I OWN A RESTAURANT & I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR MY TEAM & THEIR FAMILIES…..AND…. THIS IS…. THE SECOND TIME….. THIS YEAR THAT WE’RE DEALING WITH THESE RISING COVID NUMBERS & RESTRICTIONS.

THE LAST I READ ABOUT COVID RESTAURANT RESTRICTIONS IN THE BAHAMAS….. OUTDOOR DINING WAS ALLOWED MONDAY TO SATURDAY…..WHILE SUNDAYS WAS DRIVE-THROUGH AND TAKE AWAY ONLY…. WITH DINING AT HOTELS EXPECTED TO RESUME SOON. 

CHEF HALL ARE THOSE RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE?

ALSO…...FROM WHAT YOU’RE HEARING & SEEING THERE…...PLEASE DESCRIBE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE BAHAMAS RIGHT NOW….. WHEN IT COMES TO RESTAURANTS & COVID……


[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]













BAHAMAS COVID RECOVERY JOURNEY:


I’VE READ,  THAT IN THE BAHAMAS…. HOTELS & RESORTS MAKE UP 50 PERCENT OF THE GDP AND EMPLOY TWO OUT OF EVERY THREE BAHAMIANS.

EARLY PROJECTIONS FROM THE MINISTER SAY….. THAT THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IS UNLIKELY TO MAKE A FULL RECOVERY UNTIL 2023.


AS FAR AS CRUISE SHIPS GO….FEBRUARY 2021 WILL LIKELY BE THE EARLIEST THAT THEY’LL  RETURN TO THE BAHAMAS …….AND TYPICAL PASSENGER NUMBERS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO RETURN UNTIL THE SECOND HALF OF 2022.


IT’S ONE THING TO HEAR THOSE STATS...BUT THOSE NUMBERS ARE CONNECTED TO REAL PEOPLE WITH NEEDS & FAMILIES…..CHEF HALL DO YOU THINK THE JOURNEY TO RECOVERY WILL BE A LONG ONE? AND ALSO, WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT JOURNEY LOOKS LIKE ?  



[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]



DINNA CLUB 


ONE THING THAT I THINK WILL HELP IN THIS JOURNEY TO RECOVERY IS YOUR DINNA CLUB.

YOU PUT OUT A CALL FOR ACTION….CALLING ON ALL FARMERS, CHEFS, MUSICIANS, ARTISTS, MIXOLOGISTS….EVERYONE & ANYONE….THE DINNA CLUB IS A PLACE TO CONNECT PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE…….THE HOPE IS TO UNITE EVERYONE WHILE SHARING A MEAL TOGETHER…...AND FROM THERE THE CONNECTIONS WILL BUILD AUTHENTICALLY….. WITH THE GOAL OF BUILDING A GREATER AUDIENCE…... THAT WILL POSITIVELY IMPACT EACH PERSON’S CREATIVE VISION….

WHEN I READ ABOUT THIS EVENT I WAS DRAWN TO IT IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE IT WAS A SELFLESS ACTION….IT DIDN’T BENEFIT JUST ONE PERSON….IT’S UPLIFTING & IT’S GROUNDED... IN A STRONG PURPOSE OF POSITIVITY IN NUMBERS….CHEF HALL HOW DID THIS IDEA COME TO YOU? 


[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]











BLACK BAHAMIAN OWNED RESTAURANTS


CHEF HALL I WANT TO TALK ABOUT BLACK BAHAMIAN OWNED RESTAURANTS….THIS WILL BE A TWO PART QUESTION.


FIRST, WITH ALL THE MAJOR HOTELS & RESORTS IN THE BAHAMAS ….ARE THERE MORE NON-BAHAMIAN RESTAURANTS THAN BAHAMIAN RESTAURANTS?


IF THERE ARE MORE NON-BAHAMIAN RESTAURANTS, WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS HOLDING BACK MOST BLACK BAHAMIANS FROM OPENING UP THEIR OWN SPOT?

IS IT THE GENERAL STARTUP COSTS THAT WE ALL DEAL WITH….. NO MATTER WHERE WE START A RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD….. OR DO YOU SEE OTHER ISSUES UNIQUE TO THE BAHAMAS…. THAT ARE HOLDING THEM BACK….?



[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]



RITA MARLEY


I HEAR THAT YOU’VE COOKED FOR RITA MARLEY MANY MANY TIMES…...IT MAY BE NOTHING NEW FOR YOU….BUT I AM A BIG FAN OF HERS & OF COURSE HER LATE HUSBAND BOB MARLEY…...I HOPE THIS ISN’T CROSSING A BOUNDARY OF CHEF/CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY…..BUT IF YOU ARE ABLE TO INDULGE ME….A FAN…..COULD YOU PERHAPS SHARE WITH US ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE STORIES ABOUT YOUR TIME WITH RITA ? 




[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]













CHEF HALL & BAHAMAS:


CHEF HALL, FOR PEOPLE LISTENING, WHAT’S THE ONE THING THAT YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE FOOD WORLD IN THE BAHAMAS RIGHT NOW? 

AND ALSO ONE THING THEY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE FOOD WORLD IN THE BAHAMAS ?


[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]


TAKEAWAY:


CHEF HALL, THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US …....


I LIKE ENDING THE PODCAST ASKING IF THERE’S ANY TAKEAWAY THAT YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE WITH LISTENERS THAT CAN POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THEIR LIVES….. 

IT COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED, A PRO TIP…. OR GENERAL LIFE ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY ….……..


[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]


…...CHEF HALL WHERE CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ?


[[CHEF HALL DISCUSSES]]


THANKS FOR LISTENING….AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY….... SUBSCRIBE TO “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” ….WHEREVER YOU GET YOUR PODCASTS….



[[MUSIC]]


RESTAURANT SCENE IN BAHAMAS DURING COVID
Chef Hall's COVID Experience
BAHAMAS COVID RECOVERY JOURNEY
Bahamian Restaurant life during COVID
DINNA CLUB
BLACK BAHAMIAN OWNED RESTAURANTS
RITA MARLEY
CHEF HALL & THE BAHAMAS
CHEF HALL'S TAKEAWAY